10/05/08 8:42 PM EST
Brewers bats mostly silent vs. Phillies
Milwaukee hits just .206 with a .254 slugging percentage
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
The blast measured a whopping 435 feet.
For Fielder, there was some consolation on the day the Brewers were eliminated from postseason play. The Phillies, behind two Pat Burrell homers, rolled to a 6-2 win in Game 4 to capture the best-of-five National League Division Series at Miller Park.
Fielder's homer was his first and only hit in the NLDS. The power-hitting first baseman, who belted 34 long balls on the season, was 0-for-12 in the series before connecting off Joe Blanton.
"Yeah, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to get the team the lead or the win," Fielder said. "We'll see what we can do next year."
All season the Brewers relied so heavily on home runs. They finished with 198, the fifth most in the Major Leagues and third in the National League.
What the Brewers are taking away from their NLDS, which went 3-1 in favor the Phillies, is the need to be more diversified offensively.
In the four games, the Brewers batted .206, and they had a .254 slugging percentage. Fielder provided the lone homer for his team.
All-Star left fielder Ryan Braun, who had a solid series with a .312 average and two doubles, noted the need for change in the playoffs.
"I think for us as an organization, one of our priorities has to be being more consistent, and just having more quality at-bats, swinging at better pitches," Braun said. "I think pitch selection is a big issue with us. Just finding a way to be able to manufacture runs a little more often."
The downside of counting so heavily on power is when it comes at the expense of being able to scratch out runs.
The Phillies' starting pitching came through. In the first two games, both in Philadelphia, the Brewers combined for just seven hits. In those games, Milwaukee managed little off Cole Hamels and Brett Myers. Blanton gave them fits on Sunday.
"They've got a good ballclub, and I think actually we might have caught them not hitting as good as they can," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I mean, they've got a lot of power through their lineup, and they definitely can score runs, so our pitching was good against them. Actually, that's what really won three games for us. ... We got big pitching from Hamels and Myers and today Blanton."
With the Brewers facing elimination on Sunday afternoon, Blanton was effective, scattering five hits in six-plus innings. In the first inning, Braun had a two-out single. The next baserunner Milwaukee produced was J.J. Hardy, who singled to open the fifth inning.
"You see when you get into games like this, against good pitchers, that it's difficult to rely on the home run," Braun said. "For us to get back into this position and ultimately win in the postseason, we've got to be able to find a way to do a little better job in manufacturing runs."
The Brewers' on-base percentage was a mere .271 in the four games.
"Yeah it's frustrating. But that's baseball," Fielder said. "That's what happens sometimes when you've got good pitching. You've got to tip your hat to them."
Hardy led the team with a .429 batting average, going 6-for-14 with a double and two RBIs in the series.
"It wasn't just this series. It was all September for us. It's a long season, and teams will go through it for short periods of time," Hardy said. "Usually there are one or two guys who will carry the team when the other guys are struggling. It just seemed like the whole team wasn't hitting, and it lasted a long time."
Hardy noted that the team may have pressed.
"I think anytime you're in a slump, you try to do a little bit more," he said. "What you should try to do is a little bit less. It's a lot easier said than done."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.